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Denotation vs. Connotation

knave

[neyv] /neɪv/
noun
1.
an unprincipled, untrustworthy, or dishonest person.
2.
Cards. jack1 (def 2).
3.
Archaic.
  1. a male servant.
  2. a man of humble position.
Origin of knave
1000
before 1000; Middle English; Old English cnafa; cognate with German Knabe boy; akin to Old Norse knapi page, boy
Can be confused
knave, naval, nave (see synonym study at the current entry)
Synonyms
1. blackguard, villain, scamp, scapegrace. Knave, rascal, rogue, scoundrel are disparaging terms applied to persons considered base, dishonest, or worthless. Knave, which formerly meant merely a boy or servant, in modern use emphasizes baseness of nature and intention: a dishonest and swindling knave. Rascal suggests shrewdness and trickery in dishonesty: a plausible rascal. A rogue is a worthless fellow who sometimes preys extensively upon the community by fraud: photographs of criminals in a rogues' gallery. A scoundrel is a blackguard and rogue of the worst sort: a thorough scoundrel. Rascal and rogue are often used affectionately or humorously (an entertaining rascal; a saucy rogue ), but knave and scoundrel are not.
Antonyms
hero.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for knave
Historical Examples
  • But the knave can seldom be brought to believe in the existence of an honest man.

    The Golden Censer John McGovern
  • He threw the helmet with a clatter on to the table as if it had been the knave's canting head.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • From the next row to that whence you took the knave, take the seven; from the next row take the five; from the next the queen.

  • "Take this knave and lock him in his chamber," he bade a couple of his bravi.

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • To show mercy towards such a knave is an outrage to society!

    Wood Rangers Mayne Reid
  • It seems I must save you not only from that knave, but from yourself.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • The knave of the suit represents the most intimate person of their family.

  • "I should have thought the knave had more of your sympathy," said the other.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • The fox made a hearty breakfast on it, saying, "The fool's ear was made for the knave's tongue."

  • I should have given up the contest, I confess, but that the knave had me in his power.

    The O'Donoghue Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for knave

knave

/neɪv/
noun
1.
(archaic) a dishonest man; rogue
2.
another word for jack1 (sense 6)
3.
(obsolete) a male servant
Derived Forms
knavish, adjective
knavishly, adverb
knavishness, noun
Word Origin
Old English cnafa; related to Old High German knabo boy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for knave
n.

Old English cnafa "boy, male servant," common Germanic (cf. Old High German knabo "boy, youth, servant," German knabe "boy, lad," also probably related to Old English cnapa "boy, youth, servant," Old Norse knapi "servant boy," Dutch knaap "a youth, servant," Middle High German knappe "a young squire," German Knappe "squire, shield-bearer"). The original meaning might have been "stick, piece of wood" [Klein]. Sense of "rogue, rascal" first recorded c.1200. In playing cards, "the jack," 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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12
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